July 6

2 Kings 5:10-12 (NIV) 10Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed." 11But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman was a great commander in the army of the king of Aram. He had contracted some type of skin disease. His wife's servant was a young girl from Israel. The young girl spoke of a prophet that could cure Naaman. With the king's permission, he journeyed to Israel to be cured. The king of Israel thought it was a ploy to have reason for the king of Aram to go to war with Israel. Elisha sent word that the king of Israel need not worry. He asked that Naaman be sent to him so that Naaman would know there was a prophet in Israel. Actually, God was after Naaman. He was pursuing him by means of his affliction. If Naaman believed Jehovah's prophet could cure, then he would believe in Jehovah.

Naaman had other issues to be dealt with, namely his pride. Instead of going out to meet this esteemed commander, Elisha just sent a messenger. God's direction for healing was a humbling thing. The Jordan is dirty and mucky. Pride sent Naaman into a rage at this simple request, but his servants calmed him down and helped him to humble himself. After the seventh dip, Naaman came up with skin like a young boy's. He had a conversion experience. His outward cleansing caused him to trust in God for an inward cleansing. He took soil back from Israel so that he could worship the God that he now knew to be the one true God.

The biggest miracle was not that his skin was cleansed but that his heart was changed. God pursues everyone with the desire to see them know Him. Will we humble ourselves and let Him do a miracle in our lives, or demand that He meet our expectations?

Consider: Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD and He will lift you up.

July 6

John 16:31-33 (NIV) 31"You believe at last!" Jesus answered. 32"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

The disciples had a difficult time understanding the analogies that Jesus used. During His last evening with them, they were struggling with His expression, "in a little while you will see me no more and then in a little while you will see me." Then Jesus told them that He would no longer use figures of speech and explained that He was going to return to the Father. Then they believed.

Yes, they now declared their belief, but to believe and to stake your life on that belief are two different things. Jesus warned them that their belief was not strong enough to keep them at His side. Though He would be alone, the Father would be with Him. As His disciples, we may have to walk that same road. In obedience to the Spirit, we may lose the company of those who have walked with us, but we will not be alone.

Jesus was concerned for the turmoil they would experience during the coming days. If they knew He was returning they could have peace in Him. Even though the world is troubling and persecutes us, we know that He will return. Just as He returned to them, He will return to this earth in His glory.

Take heart! Be encouraged! The world will not continue on its present course forever. When He returns, the conquest He has already gained over the world will be manifested. He will share that conquest with us. His reign will be complete. Don't let the trouble of the world bring you down.

Remember: You've read the final chapter! Have peace in Him.